The strong desire to eat everything in your kitchen is one of the most pleasurable side effects of consuming cannabis.
Even just a bag of crisps or some chocolate can bring immense joy to a starving stoner.
But it’s not just regular food cravings. You might also desire peculiar food combinations that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
But, have you ever wondered why? What actually are the munchies? Why does food generally tastes so good when you’re high? And is there any science to support the common belief that the munchies are even real?
Weed heightens senses
Human smell and taste are two of the five senses we possess, along with sight, touch, and hearing.
A team of scientists tested the interaction between the sense of smell and CB1 receptors. And since smell and taste are closely linked – they found that THC doesn’t only magnify sense of smell, but also heightened the taste and overall satisfaction.
Researchers found mice that consumed THC ate more than those who didn’t, while smell was also sensitised in the mice.
So ultimately, you’re not only likely to eat more, but you’re more than likely going to enjoy the textures, flavours, and scent of your food more too.
It amplifies your food cravings
THC (the same cannabinoid that getsyou high) stimulates your endocannabinoid system and CB receptors – especially your CB1 receptors.
And not only do you feel more peckish, but the therapeutic and satisfaction experienced when eating food also increases.
THC stimulates dopamine levels
In addition to providing a euphoric, joyful, and mind-altering high, THC is also responsible for making you feel a lot hungrier.
The release of dopamine (the “feel-good” chemical) in the brain magnifies the enjoyment of eating when you’ve got the munchies, whilst lowering your inhibitions.
Which means you’re more likely to experience exaggerated pleasure whilst tucking into a mountain of food.
Fruit and veg
Alongside THC, high-sugar foods also release dopamine when consuming. Which, in turn, notifies the brain that you really enjoy this type of food and you want to eat more of it, more often.
When sugary foods and THC interact with eachother, significantly more dopamine is produced in your brain.
And that’s why a chocolate donut seems more appealing than a healthy salad when you’re high. And it’s why legalising recreational cannabis leads to increased sales of ice cream, cookies and crisps.
What does all this mean?
In short, our brain, body, and past experiences effect how good or bad certain foods taste to us.
The consumption of cannabis just enhances our natural internal system and what we experience when we’re eating.
According to Nicholas DiPatrizio, a neuroscientist at the University of California, there is still much to learn about the affects of cannabis on the human body.
But he explains that THC binds to and stimulates the CB recpetors thoughout our body (especially our tongue and gut) to regulate things such as pleasure, mood, and memory.
“The ventral striatum is a very important part in the body that assigns hedonic value to foods,” DiPatrizio says.
“So if you would ingest cannabis, the chemical is going to activate cells in that area of the brain and very likely increase this liking of foods.”